Posts filed under ‘Fundacion D-MIRO Mision Alianza’
By Emmanuel M. von Arx, KF 16, Ecuador
What do a song and a wheelchair ramp have in common? If you are a corporate lawyer in Ecuador, you may know the answer. Everybody else, please read on.
Only recently I learned that my host and Kiva´s partner organization Banco D-MIRO has its own company song! It combines a memorable piece of poetry with a rather inspired composition. A recording follows!
By Tara Capsuto, KF12 Ecuador / KF13 Kenya
I recently concluded my Kiva Fellowship that has spanned 6.5 months, 5 of Kiva’s MFI field partners, 2 continents, countless long haul buses, and roughly 12,000 miles of travel. As a member of Kiva Fellow’s 12th class (KF12) I headed to Ecuador in July, 2010 to work with two of Kiva’s field partners, Fundación Espoir and Fundación D-MIRO. I never would have guessed that when December rolled around I’d be summitting Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and trying to pick up Swahili. That’s because KF13 landed me in Nairobi, Kenya to work with Faulu Kenya, Juhudi Kilimo, and Kenya Agency for Development of Enterprise and Technology (KADET).
From witnessing political turmoil in Ecuador to surviving a matatu crash in rural Kenya, there were definitely some harrowing moments but it’s been a truly amazing journey, a journey, that like Kiva itself, has been all about people. I’ve been out of the field for several weeks and I haven’t come up with a great way to summarize my experiences as a Kiva Fellow. Each time someone asks, “So, how was it?!” I kind of stammer, generally respond that it was fantastic (it really was), and share an anecdote or two. The truth is, it was a life-changing experience, or rather, a series of experiences, and it’s hard to know where to begin. In lieu of even attempting to be exhaustive, here are some of my favorite images from my Kiva Fellowship.
By Ellen Willems, KF13, Ecuador
Riding a bus in Guayaquil can be pretty crazy, even scary sometimes. Cars, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, everybody fights for his place in the street. And on top of that the buses fight for passengers.
The bus drivers don’t own the buses; they pay about $100/day to use them. The driver’s income depends on the number of passengers he picks up, so when two buses of the same line meet, the race is on and the already pretty crazy bus ride turns into a scary roller coaster ride.
Earlier this year, in April, MFTransparency.org, an international non-governmental organization committed to pricing transparency, launched its Transparent Pricing Initiative in Latin America. The data collected in Ecuador will be presented during a conference in Quito on November 30th. Awaiting this event, let us look at the laws and regulations currently in effect in Ecuador.
by Tara Capsuto, Kiva Fellow, Ecuador
Armed with training materials and a couple of motivational video messages from staff members at Fundación D-MIRO Misión Alianza, D-MIRO’s Kiva Coordinator, Rubi, and I left behind the bustling commercial hub of Guayaquil for the coastal city of General Villamil Playas. Our mission: train loan officers for Kiva responsibilities, from understanding how the website works, to conducting interviews and journaling so D-MIRO can post more borrowers to Kiva. Here’s a short description and a video chronicle of our journey, which included some delicious ceviche and inspiring borrower visits.
By Tara Capsuto, KF12, Ecuador
Taking a picture of a Kiva borrower sounds easy enough, right? Snap a picture at his or her business, shrink the photo size, upload to Kiva with the borrower profile. Three easy steps. That´s what I thought before I had the chance to see how very challenging this seemingly simple task can be. As many Kiva Fellows can attest, there are actually lots of challenges to snapping that coveted profile picture, you know that one with the borrower doing their soon-to-be-Kiva-funded work, with good lighting and a big smile? It`s that picture makes you want to make a loan before you even get to the borrower description. I’d like to describe one particular challenge to taking borrower pictures and end with a call for suggestions.
By Leigh Madeira, KF10 Ecuador
Seeing as it’s my final week in Ecuador, I decided to take Kiva’s commitment to P2P to the max by meeting a borrower who had actually received a loan that I personally made at the start of my Kiva adventure! After reading Jose´s profile multiple times over the past few weeks, getting to meet him in person was by far one of the coolest things I have done so far as a Kiva Fellow, not just because we shared a connection through my loan, but because Jose has a very inspirational story and is living proof that microfinance works.
How did the Otavaleños, Ecuador’s most affluent indigenous group, become so successful? Did microfinance play a role in their development?
Although it´s more like Sacagaweas here!
What in the world am I talking about? Well, today, March 13, 2010, is the ten-year anniversary of the US dollar being used in Ecuador. That´s right, most people are unaware that the official currency of Ecuador (and Panama and El Salvador to name a few others) is the United States Dollar.
The more I read the Kiva Fellows blog, the more I realize that there is a lot of controversy surrounding Kiva, its Field Partners, and microfinance in general. While I welcome the discussion, microfinance is a complicated concept and I have noticed that many times the criticisms are based on misconceptions of how Kiva and microfinance really work in the developing world. Below please find a list of the most common misconceptions surrounding the topic along with why, in my humble opinion, they are indeed myths.
Have you ever thought about what the red, white and blue in the American flag represent? While there are many theories, the most popular seems to be the following: white signifies innocence, beauty, and purity (they clearly had the cast of the Jersey Shore in mind when coming up with this one), red for valor and hardiness, and blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
The Ecuadorian flag, however, has the following meaning: the large yellow band represents “the country’s mineral and agricultural wealth, and its extensive natural resources”, the blue signifies “the ocean, and the clear and clean Ecuadorian skies”, and the red symbolizes “the blood spilled by the heroes who died in the name of their countrymen’s Fatherland and Freedom.”
The significance of the yellow in the flag made me pause…if the country has such mineral and agricultural wealth, why is there so much poverty? According to The World Factbook, over 38% of Ecuador’s population live in poverty (compared to 35% in Cambodia, 30% in the Philippines, and 12% in the USA). The fact that Ecuador’s terrain is so “wealthy” seems to directly contradict the amount of poverty seen here.